It just so happened that my local camera shop had a used copy of the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 OS HSM for dirt cheap. I tried it out and I was hooked. It was exactly what I was looking for. It had everything that the Nikon 16-35mm offered and more. Now, before anybody gets the wrong idea, I want to point out that I am NOT comparing these two lenses other than for what I was looking for personally.
|The wide aperture allows you to isolate the subject / The Sword, Austin TX|
- Speed. The aperture though variable is still plenty fast. Faster than the 16-35mm at the wide end, and much faster than Nikon's direct competition the 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR.
- Focal length range. This lens has the perfect focal length for most everyday shooting scenarios from landscapes and street photography to portraits and still-life. This lens has you covered.
- Close-up focus. This was one of the biggest selling points for me. At right around 1:2 it's not true macro, but it's good enough. What I'm really excited about is close focusing at the wide-angle setting which allows you to do cool things with perspective distortion.
- HyperSonic Motor. The Sigma HSM is right on par with Nikon's Silent Wave motor. Fast and quiet. Better than any other third-party offerings so far.
- OS. Optical Stabilization isn't a really big deal to me, but if it's there, I'll use it. It does it's job.
|The wide-angle gives a cool perspective / Dougie Fresh, Austin TX|
As far as image quality goes this lens is really good especially for the price range. Wide open it's a little soft in the corners, especially at 17mm, but this doesn't really matter in the real world. If you're at f/2.8 either you're looking to get a shallow DoF or it's dark. In either case the corners aren't really important. Stopped down it's relatively sharp, good enough for most of my work. It's not as sharp as a Nikon pro lens, but it's not a pro lens. It's just about as sharp as the Nikon 16-85mm. Bottom line is that if your not printing billboards you're gonna be fine with this lens.
The Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 does have more distortion than a lot of lenses, but it's easily correctable in post. If you're not shooting a lot of architecture and straight lines I don't think it will be a big problem.
|You wanna take cool macro shots with your everyday lens? This is the lens for you.|
My final verdict is that this lens is a must have if you want the most versatile lens you can get without breaking the bank. It's small, light, well-built, fast, close-focusing, and inexpensive. What more could ask for?
(by the way, I chose the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 VR over the Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR even though I was planning on spending the $1000)